Sunday, 16 December 2007

You Do the Maths


I stumbled across a brief review of 'Maths and English' today, in a list of the fifty 'best' albums of 2007.

5 Maths and English - Dizzee Rascal

'While grime flourished on mixtape, its former standard-bearers tried slipping into the mainstream. Dizzee Rascal led the way, as usual, his third album waving goodbye to the jagged beats of Bow for a glossier embrace of hip hop conventions and Lily Allen collaborations. A triumph'.


Who are the 'standard-bearers'? It seems even the journalists, along with every other grime MC, can't refuse the temptation of a Wiley indirect. Wiley may not have 'blown', but he's never tried to be accepted by the mainstream through 'slipping' in. Will is still the face of the grime movement and has released an album this year that has been well-received while literally staying true to 'the beats of Bow' (and without Lily Allen).

The fact that grime beats are 'jagged' and a hip hop approach is 'glossier' could be seen as a euphemism for accusations of Dizzee 'selling out'. I certainly didn't see the album as grime when I first listened to it, and I still don't, but it is actually a very good album, proably better than I originally gave it credit for. 'Maths and English' has the unity that 'Showtime' didn't, and it is unfair to compare it to the frankly untouchable 'Boy In Da Corner'. 'Maths and English' isn't 'a triumph', certainly not for grime, but maybe it is for Dizzee personally as an artist, and maybe it is as the first widely accepted UK Hip Hop album.

But, then again, we all want another 'Hold Ya Mouf' or 'Stop Dat'. Yeah - a Dizzee Rascal mixtape in 2008 would be nice.

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